Evo Morales has announced that he is suspending a decree that was intended to increase the working day of doctors and health professionals to more than 8 hours. The suspension of the decree is in response to an indefinite strike by health workers. Bolivia’s largest union, La Central Obrera Boliviana, had also planned a strike against the degree for next weekend. The strike was also intended to draw attention to the perilous state of the country’s hospitals, the lack of plans to increase health care provision in line with population growth, and the continuing shortages of supplies and medicines.
This is not the first time that Morales has stepped back from a policy in response to huge protests. In January of last year he retracted a proposed 70% rise in petrol prices after it provoked huge protests. Morales has been successful in tackling some of Bolivia’s major problems. Poverty has decreased, the budget is balanced, and inflation is under control, but if Bolivia is to truly make strides towards becoming a modern country then Morales will need to find some cojones and implement his policies with a little more conviction.